We're an open book

01 June 2018

Here at the EPA, we work on the principle of ‘open by default’, so our information and data is accessible to everyone.

Unless we have a justifiable reason that data, or any other information about our work, can’t be made available (such as for personal privacy reasons, or due to legislative restrictions), then we’ll publish it on our website.

We call it our ‘Open Book’ policy. It means we're committed to ensuring our information and data is easy to access, quick to find, and can be understood by everyone; from a chemical manufacturer who needs to access it for statutory reasons, to someone simply wanting to find out more about the work we do.

Open access

We're guided by the Official Information Act 1982. This piece of legislation promotes access, and increases availability, to official information held by government agencies.

Our policy's also underpinned by the Open Government Partnership, of which our Government is a member. The Partnership is an international agreement by governments to ‘create greater transparency, increase civic participation, and use technologies to make their governments more open, effective, and accountable’.

Data for everyone

In 2016, New Zealand ranked seventh out of 115 countries in the Open Data Barometer (released by the World Wide Web Foundation). The barometer measures how governments across the globe publish and provide access to data.

And earlier this year, the New Zealand Government signed up to the International Open Data Charter. This collaboration between governments and experts aims to open up data, and is based on six principles that say data should be:

  • open by default
  • timely and comprehensive
  • accessible and usable
  • comparable and interoperable
  • for improved governance and citizen engagement
  • for inclusive development and innovation.

Accessing our information

We work hard to make sure we’re meeting these principles. But there will be incidences where we can't publish certain information on our website.

If you can't find the information you’re looking for, or need, or there's information you think should be available on our website, you can get in touch via email at web.master@epa.govt.nz.

Where information has been updated or superseded, we make every attempt to ensure that only the most current version is available. If you would like to see previous versions, you can request them from us.

To request information under the Official Information Act, you can email us at ministerials@epa.govt.nz.

Find out more

If you’d like to know more about open governments and open data, there are a few places you can look:

What is open data? - Data.govt.nz website

Open Data Charter website 

Open Government Partnership website

Open Data Barometer website

Official Information Act 1982 - New Zealand Legislation website